In this job market, landing a job at a top PR firm is no easy task. The first step is to get noticed, and the best way to do that is to create a quality resume and cover letter that stands out from the rest. Here are some of my best tips for looking ‘hawt’ on paper.
Personalize your objective. I can’t tell you how many times I have received resumes with objectives that say, “Seeking opportunity in Public Relations, Advertising or Event Planning utilizing knowledge of blah, blah, blah…” PR is very different from advertising and event planning. Show me, specifically, that you want to work at a PR firm and that you are not just trying to interview here because desperation has made you open to anything.
Be creative with your formatting. PR pros are creative – show me that you are, too! You are not interviewing for an accounting position – so don’t use the same boring old template that everyone is taught to use their freshman year of college. Also, make sure that your font choices and text layout are easy to read and follow.
Include your social media experience. Social media is now an integral part of most PR pros’ work days. Illustrate that you know how to use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and/or blog. And include links to your social media profiles.
Note: If you include your Twitter handle on your resume (like a good little PR job seeker should), I will check you out on Twitter. Do not document your entire job search on Twitter. When I see a job candidate post things like, “Arrgh! Another rejection letter from XYZ PR Firm,” I think to myself – well, if XYZ PR Firm didn’t think they were good enough, then why should Dittoe PR?
Make sure you use AP Style. It’s no secret that PR pros follow AP Style guidelines – thus, your resume should follow AP Style. Don’t abbreviate Indiana as “IN.” Do write “Ind.” As a PR pro, we are trained to be copy editors, and little things like the aforementioned are noticed.
Double check everything. Do not trust Spell Check. Reread your resume and cover letter to make sure it is perfect. Silly mistakes look silly and misspelled words make me vomit.
Do not send two cover letters. That means do not send an email with a cover letter written in the body and then attach another cover letter document to the email. One cover letter is good enough.